When you fire linuxconf, it detects if it is running in a graphical environment (X is running). If so, it starts the GUI front-end. It starts the /bin/remadmin program. this is a shell script. This script will try to locate an available front-end. If one is found, the connection is made and Linuxconf performs like a normal GUI application. If none is found, Linuxconf runs in text mode.